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Updated: High school gets ‘B’ after two straight ‘Ds’

From left: BCHS principal Tom Hill, Tyler Mobley, Jonny Lambright, Dillon Jones, Jena Sands, Superintendent Sherrie Raulerson and Robert Raulerson in the BCHS gym after the school's new grade was announced.Baker County High School made history last week by garnering its highest grade from the Florida Department of Education since the state began grading the school 13 years ago.

Superintendent of Schools Sherrie Raulerson convened teachers, faculty and students in the BCHS gym the morning of January 4 to make the announcement.

She addressed them with school principal Tom Hill alongside balloons, a large foam letter “B,” signifying the school’s new grade; all while the speakers pumped Kool and the Gang’s “Celebrate Good Times.”

“It’s the first time for Baker County High School, so of course, we’re thrilled,” Ms. Raulerson said later that day.

The new grade has been pending for months and Mr. Hill was confident his school would shake its “D” grade.

He just wasn’t sure how high it would go.His optimism came from the school’s 4 percent jump in graduation and improved FCAT performance, which makes up half the state’s formula for grading high schools.

Principal Hill addresses students and faculty during the announcement.Mr. Hill said celebrations to congratulate BCHS teachers, faculty and students on the achievement are being planned.

“The teachers and staff all worked really hard on this, but it’s really all about the students,” he said. 

The remainder of the school grade formula counts the graduation rate, accelerated class enrollment and other factors. The school received 1103 points overall — a jump from 954 last year — on a 1600-point scale.

The largest increase came in the portion of the formula measuring participation in accelerated classes like advanced placement or dual enrollment courses, which rose 19 percent.

That helped the school earn enough points to receive an “A” from the state, though a penalty levied for failing to increase the math and reading scores of 50 percent or more of the lowest performing students brought the grade down to a “B.”

The requirement was narrowly missed, however, with 48 percent of those students, who scored in the bottom 25 percent on the previous year’s FCAT exams, showing gains.Progress was made in other areas, too.

See this week's print edition for further coverage of the high school's new grade or subscribe to the e-edition here.

Joel Addington

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